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Stars at the Birmingham Barfly 28/1/08

Birmingham Barfly
28th January 2008

I’ll admit to going to this gig because I vaguely listen to the band more than being a fan, yet Stars are a band worth seeing live. They seem to play a wistful brand of American indie-pop music that is totally at odds with the self-admitting depressing lyrical content.

It may be the acoustics of the barfly, but first band Destroy Cowboy’s set resembled that of a bunch of fifteen year-olds who were given instruments for Christmas and are determined to make as much noise as possible. They’re probably talented but the selfish playing of every instrument comes off as noise.

Main support comes from Apostle of Hustle and luckily they make up for the lesser first support. Their sound is far more similar to Stars and more importantly they don’t take themselves too seriously – announcing they’re “from Canadia, you guys have heard of Canadia right?” They seem at home on stage and this is evident with tight-knit songs and banter between songs.

Stars arrive with the most ornate decoration the Barfly has seen, with 5 lamps and enough flowers to put a florist to shame, which fortunately decorate the industrialised venue. They open with the line “when there’s nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire” from album ‘Do You Trust Your Friends’ which shows the depressing nature of the songs. However the band themselves appear to less depressed than the songs would suggest; bantering with the audience and giving out some of the assortment of flowers. The male lead singer pogo’s round the stage and adds energy to the show that the subdued music leaves behind.

Stars played a large range of songs from their various albums well, but the audience seemed somewhat lukewarm, which was unsurprising given how cold the venue was. Stars play a brand of American indie-pop which isn’t exactly known for its enthusiasm and despite the cold and the depressing lyrics, the performance itself was fun and the crowd seemed at least somewhat interested, but not entirely compelled.

*This was originally posted on my old blog*

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